International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 19 Issue 3 (November 2009), Pages 219-360

Task‐based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstandings (pages 221-246)

This paper begins by offering a definition of ‘task’ and by emphasizing that there is no single ‘task‐based teaching’ approach. It then evaluates a number of criticisms of TBT, drawing on recent critiques by Widdowson, Seedhouse, Sheen, and Swan. It is argued that many of these criticisms stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what a ‘task’ is, and of the theoretical rationales that inform task‐based teaching. These criticisms also reflect a failure to acknowledge that multiple versions of task‐based teaching exist. In particular, it is argued that task‐based teaching need not be seen as an alternative to more traditional, form‐focused approaches but can be used alongside them. The paper concludes with an examination of a number of genuine problems with implementing task‐based teaching, as reflected in evaluation studies.

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